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What You Can Do to Help Prevent Clergy Abuse

If you want results, call us. If you want peace of mind, call us. If you want representation who understands the hardship that has been thrust upon you, call us.

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While the power to stop sexual abuse lies with the people around the survivors, the power to obtain compensation lies with a priest abuse attorney. An experienced lawyer knows how to collect evidence in these cases, even if the abuse occurred years ago. Additionally, attorneys know how to use the law to protect people whether through a lawsuit or filing an Independent Compensation Program claim.

As a result, many victims obtain compensation for their economic losses, such as medical bills, and their noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Moreover, attorneys often obtain additional punitive damages in sexual abuse cases. Many times, the Catholic Church knew or should have known about the behavior, yet did not stop it.

Reporting sexual abuse does not mean you are judging the alleged abuser or taking sides in any way. You are just telling someone else what you saw. Ultimately, a jury will separate fact from fiction.

Education

Learn some of the red flags associated with child sexual abuse. Both abusers and victims often display certain symptoms. Knowing what to look for makes the next step easier.

Write Letters to the Editor

Share your knowledge with people you know, and with strangers you do not know. The more people who know what to look for, the better.

Empower Children

Pass on the things you learn about child sexual abuse to your children. They are in a better position than you are to speak up and speak out.

Speak Up

Most of us have probably seen those “If You See Something, Say Something” posters. The saying applies in this context. Once again, you are not judging or jumping the gun. You are just relaying the facts as you see them.

Be Open

If a survivor relates an episode of abuse, always say “I believe you” and “It’s not your fault.” Even if the survivor’s recollection is not 100 percent accurate, it is almost always mostly true. Additionally, sexual abuse is always the abuser’s fault.

Invite Survivors to Share Their Stories at Church

This preventative step is not an easy one to take, but it may be the most effective one of all. Such invitations are good ways to affirm the victim’s story and also shed light on the issue. If the victim’s story involves abuse which occurred at that church or in that parish, some discretion might be appropriate.

Make Positive Comments on Social Media

When you see survivors stories, include an affirming or encouraging note. It should not be judgmental, since you do not know all the facts. But it should affirm the victim in some way. Rest assured that survivors read such comments, and your words will encourage them.

Read a Book or Watch a Film About This Issue

Media can make you more aware of the problem. Additionally, supporting media like this encourages others to tell their stories.

Support Survivor-Friendly Laws

Much like a social media comment, a simple Tweet to your representative that you support or oppose a particular bill carries great weight. A message to an influential staff person may be even better. 

Press for Additional Transparency

If child sexual abuse has occurred in your parish, ask your bishop to release all relevant information and make it available online. The more people know, the better protected your children will be.

Contact a Dedicated Lawyer

Churchgoers have the power to prevent clergy sexual abuse. For a free consultation with a top-rated personal injury attorney in Orange County, contact DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo. We do not charge upfront legal fees in injury cases and can help you explore your legal options. Call us today.